TIME boston bombing

Boston Bombing Suspect’s Alleged Accomplices to Face Trial

Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, Robel Phillipos
This courtroom sketch shows defendants Azamat Tazhayakov, left, Dias Kadyrbayev, center, and Robel Phillipos, right, college friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, during a hearing in federal court Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in Boston. Jane Flavell Collins—AP

A federal judge set a trial date for alleged Boston bombing accomplices Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both Kazakh nationals, who are charged with aiding Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to get rid of incriminating evidence and flee authorities

Two Kazakh nationals will stand trial for allegedly helping Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev evade authorities and jettison incriminating evidence.

USA Today reports that Federal Judge Douglas Woodstock rejected the defense team’s request to have all charges against Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov dropped, saying he would not weigh the evidence and act as “fact finder” before the trial dates.

Woodstock also rejected the defense team’s request to relocate the pair’s trials outside of Boston, where emotions might not run as high among selected jury members. Woodstock argued that the defense team’s concerns could be resolved through the usual jury vetting process.

Kazakh nationals Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov stand accused of obstructing police investigations by removing a laptop from the Boston bombing suspect’s dorm room and taking a backpack filled with firework shells emptied of explosive powder in the days after the April 15, 2013 bombings.

Tazhayakov will stand trial on June 30, and Kadyrbayev on Sept. 8. A third suspect, Robel Phillipos, will stand trial on charges of lying to investigators on Sept. 29.

[USA Today]

TIME Infectious Disease

What Is MERS? Here’s What You Need To Know

CDC has confirmed a second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the United States. The virus, which has over 500 lab-confirmed cases of the disease worldwide with 145 fatalities, most of them in Saudi Arabia, belongs to the same family of viruses as SARS

Updated May, 17 5:45 p.m

The CDC confirmed last week that there was a second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the U.S.. [Update: And today, a third case was confirmed in Illinois. The patient was someone in contact with the first U.S. MERS patient.] You may be wondering what the hoopla is about if there are only three cases in the U.S. Let me tell you.

What is MERS?
MERS is a respiratory disease that is caused by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus” (MERS-CoV). MERS is in the same family of viruses as SARS and the common cold, but it appears so far to be less transmissible. The virus first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and to date, there are over 500 lab-confirmed cases of the disease worldwide and more than 145 people have died. The virus has spread to other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, and it’s thought to have originated from camels.

What are the symptoms?
Shortness of breath, fever, and coughing. In some cases it can be fatal, with 30% of people contracting the disease dying, but the first U.S. patient in Indiana has fully recovered and is discharged from the hospital. How severe a case is likely depends on the initial health of the person who contracts it.

How did the virus get to the United States?
In both cases, the virus was imported into the United States by people living in Saudi Arabia who work in health care settings. The second patient in Florida flew from Jeddah to London, and then Boston. From there, the patient traveled to Atlanta and then Orlando. During travel, the patient and started feeling symptoms. When the patient arrived at the emergency room of a Florida hospital on May 8, they were put into isolation, and the patient is currently in stable condition. The CDC has frequently said that cases of MERS in the U.S. have been expected, so the arrival is not a surprise. The third case, as mentioned, was someone in contact with the first U.S. MERS patient, in Illinois.

On desktop, roll over this graphic to get a closer look; on mobile, click to zoom.

Heather Jones

How is the virus transmitted?
What we know about the virus is that human transmission appears to only occur when someone has direct contact with an infected person. That could mean treating a patient in their home or in a hospital setting. Still, the health care workers in Indiana who interacted with the MERS patient have twice tested negative for the virus.

Am I at risk?
The CDC says the risk for Americans is extremely low. The CDC released a travel alert for the Arabian Peninsula, reminding travelers to pay attention to their health before and after their trip. However, health care workers serving in the Middle East are recommended to take necessary precautions to protect themselves from infection. The CDC currently has a team in Indiana and Florida to monitor the infection, as well as a team in Saudi Arabia studying the disease.

But what if I recently traveled to the Arabian Peninsula? How do I know if I’m infected?
The incubation period for the disease is around five to 14 days. If within 14 days after traveling to these countries you experience symptoms of respiratory illness, you can check with your health care provider and explain your recent travel. But again, so far the disease appears to transmit when someone has direct contact with an infected person, usually caring for that person.

Is there going to be an outbreak in the U.S. soon?
Infectious disease experts don’t appear to think so. Take SARS as a model: the disease started in Southern China in the early 2000s resulted in over 8,000 cases and 774 deaths. But only eight cases made it to the United States, and none of those patients died from the disease. MERS is less virulent than SARS, and the spread of SARS was aided by the existence of “superspreaders” who were people who spread the virus in much more excessive amounts than others, according to Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease physician with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center who specializes in pandemic policy. There are currently no MERS superspreaders. “This disease doesn’t spread efficiently. It’s hostile, but it seems casual contacts have not been becoming ill,” says Dr. Adalja.

So, I don’t need to freak out right now?
Take a deep breath. The fact that there are three cases of MERS in the United States is more of a message to health care workers. If a patient comes in complaining of severe respiratory symptoms, it’s a good idea to ask them where they’ve traveled. As for the rest of us, the usual hygiene rules come into play. The CDC recommends the following:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.
TIME animals

Photos: Inside a Hospital for California’s Stranded Seals and Sea Lions

The Marine Mammal Center, currently dealing with a record number of starving sea lion pups, has been caring for stranded sea animals since volunteers started the animal hospital with kiddie pools nearly 40 years ago

TIME Environment

Sea Lions Are Starving to Death—and We Don’t Know Why

America's busiest marine mammal rehab facility is trying to figure out why mothers seem to be abandoning their young along the Pacific

On a sunny, windy morning in the rolling hills outside San Francisco, a pickup truck parks on what was once a missile site for the U.S. military. In the bed of the truck is a big white crate holding a little sea lion pup, an animal about half the size he should be, shaking with weakness. Pacheco—named for the road that runs by the stretch of nearby Ocean Beach where members of the public found the animal stranded—is the newest “patient” at the Marine Mammal Center. But, like nearly half of the other animals who arrive there, he might not be at the center long. “You can see his backbone,” says Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science. “He’s not surviving.”

The Marine Mammal Center, situated in part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is the largest rehabilitation facility of its kind, and Pacheco is the latest in a record number of patients who have been delivered to their door this year. “It was like hitting a wall,” Executive Director Jeff Boehm says of the swell that started this spring. “The animals hit us fast and furious.” The influx of nearly 500 ailing sea lions, elephant seals and harbor seals is straining the resources of the non-profit Center. But it’s also providing opportunities to learn more about diseases that affect seals, sea lions—and land animals like humans.

Many of the patients currently in the care of the center’s 50 staff members and 1,100-member volunteer network are pups like Pacheco. In a normal year, the veterinarians might see 20 California sea lion pups who are malnourished and undersized. Since the beginning of this year, they’ve already treated around 100. “There’s a disturbance in the ocean right now,” says Johnson. “For some reason, they’re being abandoned by their moms.”

Each summer, such pups are born in the Channel Islands, a string off the southern coast of California, where they’re reared for nearly a year. The islands are hundreds of miles from San Francisco, which is why pups like Pacheco “shouldn’t be here,” as Johnson puts it. His best theory is that something is causing a food shortage, and so the mothers, unable to feed themselves, are deserting their offspring in search of food elsewhere. The pups then set out on their own, but they’re too inexperienced and weak to reach foraging grounds, eventually getting swept off course and washing up in places like Ocean Beach, sick and starving.

That’s just a theory for now, but the center is piloting a project that could help provide answers. The Marine Mammal Health Map will standardize data from all the marine mammal rehab facilities that care for stranded animals along America’s coasts—cataloging where the animals appear and how they’re diagnosed—and then overlay that information with oceanographic data already being collected by the government. That could allow experts to link patterns in strandings to temperature changes or ocean swells or the spread of toxins in the sea.

The Marine Mammal Center is part of a national stranding network set up by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The legislation was passed in 1972 after marine animal populations had been decimated by human hunters. Elephant seals, who fill the air at the center with their signature bleats and who can weigh more than 5,000 lbs. (2,267 kg) when fully grown, were once killed for fat that was used in perfume and candles. Sea lions, who traipse around the center’s pens on their rotating front fins, were once fed to pigs because they were high in fat and easy to catch. The center was established nearly 40 years ago by a few volunteers who first tried to rehabilitate stranded marine mammals in kiddie pools. It has since grown to inhabit a $32 million complex with high-tech water filtration systems and on-site labs; veterinarians and students from around the world come there to learn about the animals. On the day Pacheco arrived, medical staff from New Zealand and Chile helped perform a procedure on a sea lion named Coco Max, whose rear flipper had swollen to twice its normal size after a bite became infected.

Sometimes that research can lead to surprising breakthroughs for humans. One toxin Johnson and his team have identified among their current patients is domoic acid. This toxin, a naturally occurring one found in algae, causes seizures among marine animals who have eaten small fish that have eaten algae blooms. In humans, domoic acid causes amnesic shellfish poisoning. Mussels filter the contaminated water through their systems, and when people eat the shellfish, the toxin can cause brain damage and memory loss. But government officials and researchers didn’t start scouring West Coast waters for domoic acid until scientists at the Marine Mammal Center identified it as a cause of a mysterious seizure outbreak among California sea lions in the late 1990s. Their discovery “led to a huge amount of research about how [amnesic shellfish poisoning] occurs, how to protect humans, a whole new department of public health,” says Johnson.

The vast majority of the center’s animal patients can’t eat or are so young they never learned how to swallow a fish whole. Volunteers blend “fish milkshakes”—made of high-fat herring, fish oil and water—that medical staff pump into the stomachs of the animals until they can be trained in “fish school” to chase and eat herring on their own. With their pens full, the Marine Mammal Center is currently grinding through 1,000 lbs. of fish per day, at a cost of $1 per pound.

And many of the patients won’t make it. Last year, about 60% of the animals admitted to the Marine Mammal Center were eventually released back into the wild. Many of the lost had cancer, or were simply too far gone from starvation by the time they were found. Even the success stories can be colored by tragedy. A sea lion named Silent Knight was found listless on a beach in Sausalito four years ago; when he was brought to the center, the veterinarians determined that he had been shot in the head, a too common practice among fisherman frustrated by the animals interfering with their catches or simply bored shooters on the beach. Though the wounds didn’t kill Silent Knight, they did blind him, and the animal couldn’t be released back into the wild. Happily, the San Francisco Zoo made a home for him instead.

That’s the kind of salvation story that employees try to impress on the 100,000 people, many of them school children, who visit each year—and whom the center might eventually depend on for donations in busy times. Right now, staff are anticipating that they might be grappling later this year with a possible El Nino, a period of abnormally warm ocean temperatures that can affect weather around the world. That could mean more storms that separate mothers from their young and less fish for marine mammals to eat. Altogether, that means busy times in the Marin Headlands. But the staff is hoping that as their research advances, they’ll be able to figure out a way to keep sea lions and seals from becoming patients in the first place. “That’s the goal,” says wildlife veterinarian Glenna McGregor. “To put this place out of business.”

TIME The Brief

Big Bad ‘Wolves’ of Russia Look to ‘Conquer Ukraine or Die Trying’

Welcome to #theBrief, the four stories to know about right now—from the editors of TIME

Here are the stories TIME is watching this Tuesday, May 13:

  • Russian paramilitary group “The Wolves’ Hundred” is vowing to “conquer Ukraine or die trying.”
  • Donald Sterling ripped Magic Johnson for his HIV and made more racist comments in what was supposed to be an apology interview on CNN.
  • The second MERS case in the U.S. has been confirmed in Orlando, while officials examine up to 500 people with whom the patient came into contact.
  • Clay Aiken’s North Carolina congressional opponent, Kieth Crisco, died after falling in his home.

The Brief is published daily on weekdays.

TIME 2016 Election

Karl Rove Publicly Questions Hillary Clinton’s Health

Karl Rove Hillary Clinton
Former cheif of staff, Karl Rove, at the 2013 Aspen Ideas Festival in Aspen, Colo. on June 27, 2013. Lynn Goldsmith—Corbis

The Republican strategist denies saying that Clinton suffered brain damage after her December 2012 concussion, but says it was a "serious deal" that the Democratic favorite should address if she wants to run for president

Republican strategist Karl Rove publicly questioned Hillary Clinton’s health last week, raising concerns about the damage the mooted 2016 presidential candidate sustained during a fall in December 2012 that doctors say resulted in a blood clot.

According to the New York Post’s Page Six, Rove insinuated that Clinton suffered from more than a blood clot while onstage at a conference. The Post reported that Rove said, “Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”

A Clinton spokesperson told the Post that Rove’s concerns were misplaced: “Please assure Dr. Rove she’s 100 percent. Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying.”

Rove appearedon Fox News Tuesday morning to clarify that while he questioned Clinton’s health, he was misquoted. “I didn’t say she had brain damage,” Rove said. “My point was, is that Hillary Clinton wants to run for president, but she would not be human if this didn’t enter in as a consideration. And my other point is, this will be an issue in the 2016 race, whether she likes it or not.”

Rove continued, “Look, she had a serious health episode. And I don’t know about you, but if you go through a serious health episode, it causes you to look at life a little bit differently. This was a serious deal.”



Alaska’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Challenged

The United For Marriage Rally drew over 100 people outside the Federal Building in Anchorage, Alaska, Wednesday, June 26, 2013 Anchorage Daily News/Getty Images

Five same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit to overturn the state's 1998 constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being between a man and a woman, but also aim to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries

Five same-sex couples filed a lawsuit Monday that challenges Alaska’s ban on gay marriage as unconstitutional.

The Alaskan lawsuit, filed on behalf of four couples married outside of the state and one unmarried couple, not only wants to overturn Alaska’s 1998 constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, but also to force the state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries.

Although most states across the country have seen similar legal challenges, attorney Caitlin Shortell, one of three lawyers on the Hamby v. Parnell lawsuit, says this is the first legal challenge in Alaska to legalize gay marriage. Shortell said that the lawsuit is both “necessary and important.”

After a South Dakota lawsuit that was announced last week is filed, Montana and North Dakota will be the only two states in the union yet to challenge prohibitions on gay marriage.

Last month, the Alaskan Supreme Court ruled to increase rights of same sex couples, including official entitlement to same property tax exemptions. In February, state senator Hollis French proposed measures to strip away the state’s gay marriage ban, which he declared a “blot on our state constitution,” although it didn’t gain traction.

Lawyers say that they expect the Republican-controlled state legislature to defend the ban.

[Anchorage Daily News]

TIME Accidents

2 Dead in West Virginia Mine Collapse

Authorities in Boone County have identified two of the miners who were killed after a roof collapsed on Monday night at their Patriot Coal-owned mine, which reportedly has a record 250 safety violations ranging from roofing hazards to methane leaks

Two miners have died after a roofing collapse at a West Virginia coal mine, police confirmed on Tuesday.

Local TV station WBOY-TV reports that emergency crews responded to the accident at the Boone County mine on Monday night at 10:30 pm EST. Families of the miners were seen gathered at the entrance gate shortly after news of the collapse had spread.

The state Mine Safety Office has identified the victims as Eric Legg, 48, of Twilight and Gary P. Hensley, 46, of Chapmanville. No other miners are believed to be trapped or injured, investigators said. Preliminary reports suggest the collapse may have been caused by a “coal outburst,” in which geological pressures cause a sudden explosion of coal and gas.

U.S. Representative Nick Rahall released a statement in the wake of the accident, saying, “My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the miners who were taken too early from this life.”

The mine is owned by Patriot Coal and reportedly has a record of 250 safety violations for risks ranging from methane leaks to roofing hazards.


TIME Crime

House Explodes After Cop Killed At Scene of Domestic Dispute

Shots Fired Home
In this frame grab from television helicopter video, a home bursts into flames in Brentwood, N.H. AP/WCVB-TV 5

Steven Arkell, a 48-year-old father of two, was killed when responding to a domestic dispute that ended when an explosion almost tore the house in two. The alleged shooter is thought to have perished inside

A New Hampshire police officer was shot and killed Monday when responding to a domestic dispute at a suburban home that exploded soon after in a blast so great that the roof tore off the building. Authorities believe that the shooter set his duplex on fire and died either in the flames or the explosion.

Gov. Maggie Hassan ordered flags on state buildings to be flown at half staff in honor of deceased officer Steven Arkell, a 48-year-old father of two.

“Officer Arkell bravely answered the call of duty and made the ultimate sacrifice, a heroic demonstration of his commitment to the safety of his fellow citizens,” Hassan said. “Like so many of our first responders do on a daily basis, Officer Arkell courageously put his life on the line to protect others, and in doing so, was tragically taken far too soon.”

Michael Nolan, 47, is believed to be the culprit. Officials say that he used gunfire to drive other officers out of his home, which exploded at approximately 5:50pm EST. A third person was taken to the hospital, and neighbor Susan Hughes told the Porstmouth Press-Herald that she saw presumed shooter’s 86-year-old father Walter Nolan being taken away from the scene by an ambulance.


TIME Education

Big Gaps in Pre-K Availability Nationwide, Report Finds

Frank Rothe—Getty Images

Despite widespread political campaigning on pre-kindergarten education programs, a new study finds the reality doesn't quite match the rhetoric, with enrollment figures falling and ten states with no programs at all

A new survey of state-funded pre-kindergarten programs finds a wide disparity in the availability of early education nationwide, as enrollment figures fell for the first time in over a decade.

The Education Department study showed some shining examples of enrollment and some veritable black holes, depending on where toddlers live. Among the District of Columbia’s 4-year-olds, for example, state-funded pre-K enrollment rates exceeded 90 percent in 2012-2013. In Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont the rates topped 70 percent. Then there are 10 states with no program at all.

The finding that took policymakers aback, however, was a slight contraction in the total number of children enrolled in state-funded pre-K programs. Despite a year of widespread campaigning on the issue and increased funding per pupil, enrollment across the country fell by 9,200 students in the 2012 to 2013 school year, the first contraction in more than a decade. Overall, about 28% of 4-year-olds in the U.S. attended public pre-school last year.

“We were very surprised,” said Steven Barnett, the director of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers, who conducted the study in collaboration with the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the data a “reminder of how much work we still have to do to ensure that every child gets a running start.” President Obama proposed working with states to make pre-K education available to every child in the U.S. in his State of the Union speech last year, but Congress has yet to act on the proposals.


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